Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

UK joins fight against Female Genital Mutilation in Africa

The United Kingdom has recently pledged a £50million donation to help African governments fight against Female Genital Mutilation, FGM. This donation was made in view of the upcoming International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women celebrated on November 25.

According to the government, the donation which is today considered the biggest investment throughout the world is aimed at ending the practice by 2030 and provide better protections for vulnerable girls.

With a remarkable level of success recorded by grassroots activists, the UK government has decided to apportion aid to community programmes and grassroots campaigns in the continent so as to support women’s organisations which are constantly battling against the ill.

In addition to this, the government has designed a 5 years aid funded program which will be supporting in-country projects across Africa focusing on prevention, protection, education and legislation to stop FGM.

Another major focus will be on the training of advocates and leaders to talk to women, men, girls and boys in their communities so as to educate people on the devastating effects of FGM on girls

The Saleema project carried about by UNICEF in Sudan has been sighted among one of the major programmes to benefit from such funding and will receive close to £15 million. The project has already registered encouraging results as it helped reduce social acceptance of FGM by an estimated 18% in the last two years.

It is however true that with the recent efforts put in place, a good number of communities across Africa have reduced the practice, and many countries now have legal frameworks against it.

The UK itself banned the practice since 1985 and further legislation in 2003 and 2005 made it an offence to arrange the practice outside the country for British citizens or permanent residents.

Though ActionAid strongly appreciated the aid provided, it went further to indicate that focusing on the fight against FGM alone is insufficient for the complete eradication of violence against women.

According to Anne Quesney, ActionAid’s senior women’s rights advocacy adviser, well-resourced approach to tackling gender inequality more widely is needed if violence against women and girls is to be eliminated.

Read the original article here.

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